Ex-Letṧeng bosses’ case not urgent: court

SECHABA MATATIELE

The High Court has declared an application by two former Letṧeng Diamond Company board members challenging the termination of their membership was not urgent.

The applicants Moeko Maboee and Montoeli Masoetsa filed their urgent application seeking the high court to review and set aside the decision of the minister of mining to terminate their membership as board members of Letṧeng Diamond Company.

The applicants brought their urgent application to the high court after 21 days of their termination. Procedurally, the application with substantive reasons to be considered urgent should be brought to court of law within the shortest possible time.

According to the court papers, the two applicants were appointed by the minister of mining as representatives of the government in the board of directors of Letṧeng Diamond in May 2018.

The validity period of their appointment was three years and on the April 10, the minister terminated their appointments as directors in the board in writing.

They brought their application as urgent on May 2.

Among other reasons, they were seeking an order to interdict and restrain the minister from appointing anyone to the board or alternatively that the effectiveness of any appointment that may have been made by the minister be stayed pending finalisation of the matter.

Furthermore, the final relief they sought was that the decision of the minister to terminate their membership as board members be reviewed, corrected and set aside and that the applicants be reinstated to their substantive positions as members of the board of directors.

The applicants, represented by Advocate Nkoea Thabane-Hlalele, in their founding affidavits, alleged that they were unable to lodge the case immediately because Maboee, the first applicant, had travelled to Morocco and the second applicant Montoeli waited for him to come as the application is based on the same facts.

Advocate Taeke Thejane, legal representative of the minister of mining, argued that the explanation of the applicants lacks substance because there was nothing on their papers showing that Maboee had gone to Morocco.

He said it was a mere allegation as there was no proof of travel documents attached to the papers, showing as to when he travelled to and came back from Morocco.

He said the other relief sought, that of stopping the minister from appointing anyone to the board, was already overtaken by events as there has already been new appointments to the board.

This prayer was nonetheless abandoned during argument by the applicants’ legal representative given the new developments. He said for applicant to be successful in application for interdict on urgent basis she or he should satisfy the court that she or he has no other alternative and that she or he shall not be afforded a substantial hearing in due course.

“But in this case, the applicants are open to other alternative relief which is compensation should the court find that their termination is unlawful,” he said.

Advocate Thejane said now the minister had to file the answering affidavit only to the relief that the decision of the minister to terminate their appointments be corrected and set aside. The filing is expected to be made within 14 days from the date of the ruling which was on May 13.

Acting Justice Polo Banyane ruled that the application showed no urgency, therefore the applicants should adhere to normal mode of service.

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